The boring drill is gone! Did you know that in the not-too-distant future, dentists won’t use exercises? Instead, they will use something called a dental laser, which emits heat and light energy to precisely cut away tooth decay. Laser surgery will make drilling obsolete because lasers are much more precise than old-fashioned drills.
So what’s next for dentistry? Technology is constantly changing the way we look at procedures, giving us new ways of doing things that are less invasive or help us do things faster. Here are nine technologies that could change the face of modern dentistry forever:
1. Digital X-Rays
Current radiation exposure from dental X-rays is 100 times lower than it was 20 years ago, thanks to digital imaging. Digital X-rays use up to 90% less radiation and can be taken much faster than traditional X-rays, so dentists don’t have to make you wait as long for your results.
2. Laser Dentistry
Dentists can use lasers in a number of different ways: to numb your mouth, cut away decay, or even align braces! Lasers allow dentists to do procedures more quickly and with greater precision than ever before. Even though lasers will eventually replace drills in the future, they’re also used alongside drills during procedures like dental implants or root canals, where they help to reduce pain and bleeding by cauterizing nerve endings. Traditional drills produce vibrations that may cause some discomfort, but lasers are way more precise, so this won’t happen.
3. Digital Dentistry Software
If you’ve ever felt like your dentist just doesn’t listen to you, it isn’t because he’s being rude—it’s probably because you’re not speaking the same language! Dentists are trained in technical jargon that is difficult for non-dentists to understand, but digital dentistry software will mitigate that problem by using layman terms when explaining any dental issues or conditions to patients.
4. 3D Printing & Modeling
You know how whenever you go to the dentist, they always make a model of your teeth even though it takes up valuable space in their office? Well, what if there was a better way? What if, instead of making models with messy, annoying clay, dentists were able to create a 3D printed replica of your teeth in only a few hours? 3D printing in digital dentistry is being used to create prosthetic teeth and dental implants.
5. Predictive Analytics in Dentistry
Dentists don’t like to deal with problem patients, and most people don’t want to go to the dentist when they’re experiencing tooth pain or other uncomfortable symptoms. What if there was a way for dentists to stop treating patients who aren’t going to be compliant? Predictive analytics will let dentists know exactly how likely it is that you’ll follow through on suggested treatments, so they can decide whether it’s even worth their time and effort! If you do need treatment, predictive analytics could also help them determine which treatment methods would work best for your specific situation.
6. Digital Impressions
Digital impressions allow dentists to take highly accurate impressions of your teeth, which can be used to create crowns and other restorations. Digital impressions also let dentists save and store “digital models” of patients’ teeth, which can be helpful if they need another set of eyes on a particular case or someone else needs to take over treatment.
7. Microstructure Imaging
Dentistry is now able to see the microstructure/mineral density of your teeth, so they can detect early signs of decay before it’s visible to the naked eye—way cool! If you do have tooth decay, microstructure imaging lets dentists pinpoint exactly what areas are affected and how severe it is. This helps them determine the best course of action for treatment, which could be anything from filling the tooth to crowning it.
8. Laser Fluorescence Imaging
Laser fluorescence imaging is used to detect early signs of gum disease by detecting microbial activity in your gums. Dentists will shine a laser on your gums and then measure the wavelengths that are reflected back, which lets them see if there’s any plaque or tartar buildup (and whether it’s deep enough to cause problems). If you’re at risk for gum disease, this could save you some pain further down the road!
9. Orthodontics Virtual Planning Software
If you’ve ever seen pictures of movie stars with perfectly straight teeth, chances are they had some help getting there—probably braces! Orthodontic virtual planning software can design braces for patients, so they can see exactly how straight their teeth will be post-treatment. Virtual planning software also lets dentists upload 3D images of your teeth so you can see what it will look like straightened before you go through any unnecessary pain!
With so many advancements in the dental industry, it’s hard to even choose which one we’re most excited about. We can’t wait for all of these technologies to be available at your local dentist’s office!